Proof of Concept Study for Immobilization of Submerged Munitions Using Geobags
Underwater munitions pose a risk to human health and safety as well as a potential threat to the environment. Current management options are limited to removal, in-place detonation, or leave-in-place. Furthermore, munitions subjected to ocean currents may not stay in place, making them difficult to monitor or even to remove or detonate after initial detection. Capping technology has the potential to physically and chemically stabilize munitions, preventing movement and safeguarding human exposure and the environment.
The objective of this limited scope research effort is to evaluate the potential of capping to stabilize munitions under a range of wave energies and currents that might be experienced.
This project will combine two technologies in order to immobilize and stabilize underwater ordnance--capping and geotextiles. Capping is widely used for containing contaminants in sediments and mitigating their effects on the aquatic ecosystem. Layers of cap material can provide several functions, including physical stabilization of the sediment, physical isolation of contaminated sediments from benthic organisms, and reduction of contaminant flux to the water column. Geotextiles in the form of geotubes and geobags have been used for a variety of purposes, including containment of dredged material and erosion prevention. The technology to be developed combines the layered aspects of capping and reactive or sorbent materials with geobag technology. The use of geofabric between layers will hold individual layers in place to prevent shifting or mixing of layers. A multitude of materials with differing properties are available for geobag construction, allowing flexibility of design. This project will evaluate the physical stabilization aspects of a cap, examining the requirements to reduce munitions mobility over a range of energies.
Successful application of this technology would provide a method to limit migration of underwater munitions so that they can be mapped for future remediation or monitored long term. As an alternate remediation option, capping would provide long-term protection in-place for situations where removal, destruction, or abandonment poses unacceptable risk. It offers the potential to physically stabilize munitions, encapsulate munitions constituents to prevent leakage to the environment, and offer potential blast-protection to reduce impacts of detonation. (Anticipated Project Completion - 2012)
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SERDP and ESTCP
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